Cleaning groups were deployed all along the Manatee County section of the island.
The Great American Cleanup is a nationwide, three-month-long endeavor that doesn't end until June, but the Longboat Key Turtle Watch and Keep Manatee Beautiful got started on the first day, March 20.
A group of three tackled Greer Island, where the trash on the sandy strip was down compared to previous cleanups.
"The beach looks better than it ever has," Cam Maddox said.
People from the beach volunteers group on the north end make that happen, because they come out every weekend to pick up trash. However, back in the vegetation is a different story. Trash gets blown and thrown into the plants farther up the shore, and the Keep Manatee Beautiful volunteers had plenty to pick up on Greer Island.
As Cyndi Seamon came around the edge of the island, she ran into two Anna Maria Island residents who were out for their morning beach walk. A brief conversation later, she had recruited the pair to Keep Manatee Beautiful's future efforts, and the cleaning crew got to know their new allies as they walked back towards the beach access.
The three volunteers had left larger items along their path back to the beach access so they could pick them up on their way in. Brian Maddox carried a heavy metal pole, while Cam Maddox stuffed a sheet and decomposing duffel bag into her mesh trash bag and carried a mirror in one hand.
"I don't care how full our bags are, I feel like a winner with this mirror and pole (off the beach)," Cam Maddox said.
This will be the last of LBKTW and Keep Manatee Beautiful's monthly cleanups, because LBKTW will begin its daily turtle walks in April and pick up trash along their turtle routes.